But if you’re wanting to discover a more complete and organic story of tea–how it’s grown, picked, and processed–the Big Island is where you need to be. There are a host tea adventures to take on in this land of lava, one being a visit to Tea Hawaii & Company.
I first heard about Tea Hawaii & Company several years back on a visit to the World Tea Expo. Tea grown in Hawaii? I’m in! The husband and wife team of Chiu Leong and Eva Lee head up this project of love in a rainforest on the summit of Kilauea Volcano where they grow and process their organic teas.
Eva and Chiu offer tours of their farm in Volcano Village, not far from Hawaii Volcanos National Park, but I ended up meeting Eva and Chiu at the Waimea Town Farmer’s Market. Waimea is a quaint town known for it’s ranches, rodeos, and Hawaiian cowboys. Every Saturday, you’ll find Hawaii Tea & Company there, with plenty of their teas for you to try.Eva and Chiu are artists in every sense of the word. While Eva has a background in modern dance and choreography, Chiu is a potter (all the pottery seen here is made by him!) and also trained in Chado. Together, the couple has paved new roads in Hawaii’s tea growing industry in Hawaii.
Hawaii Tea & Company offers 5 kinds of tea, 3 grown on their tea farms at 4000′ elevation (Forest White, Volcano Green, and Volcano Black) and 2 others (Makai Black and Mauka Oolong) from other tea farms on the island. My favorite is their Forest White–sweet, dewy, and just slightly herbaceous like chrysanthemums.The company also works with chefs across the island to come up with tea recipes, like Fresh Tea Leaf Tempura from Chef Stephen Rouelle and even tea-infused wine from Volcano Winery. A local pickle company, Pickled in Paradise even uses sprigs of tea in their jars of pickles as a trick to give these treats an extra crunchy bite!On the mainland and curious to try Tea Hawaii & Company’s offerings? Order them directly through Elmwood Inn Fine Teas. Their black and green teas were awarded first and second place at the 2015 Teas of the United States Competition. This is a fresh taste of the islands, a Hawaiian vacation right in your teacup!